Problems and Challenges for Lawyers in Africa

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This book, using Nigeria as a case study, examines the role and place of lawyers in Africa in this era of hope and optimism. It provides an illuminating perspective on how lawyers operate in a society anxious to embrace democracy, but still crippled by past attitudes, weak and ineffectual institutions, corruption, and the recrudescence of primordial ethnic sentiments. Though the focus is on Nigeria, the book refers to other countries to highlight, by contrast or comparison, the central issues faced by lawyers all over the African continent. These findings are relevant to other African countries because the social pathologies that disfigure Nigeria are prevalent in most, if not all, African nations. Despite these problems, the democratic impulse remains strong in the continent of Africa. Nearly all African countries put their faith in constitutional democracy despite its debasement by the political elites. They are all increasingly dependent on law to help promote social equilibrium and consolidate constitutional democracy.


“Dr. Okechukwu Oko has written a seminal piece, the scope and depth of which will define the success of the re-emergence of democracies on the African Continent ... in seeking to strike the stasis between the opposing forces of autocracy and anarchy, he ably identifies and explores the appropriate gestalt for the identification of a coherent, accessible, and understandable rule of law relevant to the daily lives of the governed.” – (from the Foreword) Dr. Ralph Slaughter, President, Southern University System

“A keen observer of government, corruption, and law reform in Africa, Professor Oko casts an eye toward the continent and to the question both of the rule of law and of the role of law, as well as the role of lawyers and law reform in remaking government, economic, and social institutions, and in recasting societal expectations ... The result is an important work showing the relation of the rule of law to the elimination of corruption and to the maintenance of constitutional democracy.” - Dr. Raymond Diamond, John Koerner Professor of Law, Tulane University

“Engagingly written, meticulously researched, and coming from a true expert on the legal profession in Africa, Professor Oko’s book illuminates why and how lawyers are essential to the political and economic development of Africa ... This is a brilliant, timely and truly original book.” - Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, Former Legal Advisor, United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ralph Slaughter
1 Introduction
2 Structure and Regulation of the Legal Proefssion
3 Portrait of the Legal Profession
4 Legal Education and Training in Nigeria
5 Lawyers in Private Practice
6 Lawyers in Salaried Employment
7 Lawyers under Military Dictatorship
8 Lawyers and the Challenge of Democratic Consolidation
9 Problems of Lawyers
10 Improving the Quality of Legal Practice

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